Sciatica refers to a symptom characterized by pain in the region of leg resulting from increased pressure on the sciatic nerve (also known as the ischiatic or ischiadic nerve) that initiates from the lower portion of the back, along the hips and extending through the leg.
The inflamed nerve leads to pain transmission described as a pain of a sharp nature akin to an electrical jolt. External trauma, spinal tumours, spinal stenosis and herniated disc form some of the frequent causes behind sciatica. If you experience pain of the similar nature, there is surplus medicinal as well as surgical treatment options that can be utilized for effective relief from the pain. Let us discuss some of the ways of treating sciatica in your leg.
Ways to Treat Sciatica in Your Leg
Give Rest To Your Leg
It is of prime importance to allow your pain afflicted leg to rest for specified time duration of twenty-four to forty-eight hours. However, leaving the leg in an inactive mode for more than two days will further exacerbate the sciatic pain.
Application of ice packs or even frozen pack of peas during the first two days of pain initiation helps bring down the sharp intensity pain to a bearable level. There are, however, two things you must always take into account while treating the leg pain.
You must keep your leg elevated while using the ice compression on it and try to restrict its application to within twenty minutes. Direct application of ice to the inflamed skin must be avoided for fear of tissue damage. To apply the icepack for pain control on the back of the leg, you must lie on your side. Repeat the ice application after every few hours till the sciatica totally subsides.
If you want to make use of heat therapy at the site of excruciating pain, it is advisable to wait for duration of at least two days. You can use a heating pad set at the lowest setting as the medium for warmth application at the area of interest for not more than ten minutes in order to avoid exacerbation of the problem.
The increased circulation of blood brings out healing of the inflamed tissue. Plus, this type of treatment brings about a reduction in the degree of swelling in the muscles of the leg and also manages to take the pressure off the lower back (the site of pain initiation). Hot water mixed with two filled cups of Epsom salt is a good treatment option against the pain.
The Role Of Medication
Medicines form an essential line of treatment for pain relief and treatment of sciatica in your leg. Both, over the counter medications and prescription drugs significantly help in treating the pain being experienced. One of the most recommended over the counter drugs that act against the inflammation and pain caused by sciatica include non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example Ibuprofen or Aspirin.
Analgesic medicines such as Acetaminophen are effective too. For prescription drugs, you should always consult your doctor for he/she is the only one who can guide and inform you regarding the contraindications or the correct dosage to be administered. Usually the medicines prescribed include muscle relaxants or anti inflammatory drugs. Sometimes tricyclic antidepressants or anticonvulsants are also added to relieve the pain symptoms via raised production of endorphins.
Keep Yourself Active
Physical rest is good for treatment of pain but excess of it can actually reverse the situation. Therefore, do not stick to a sluggish lifestyle. Go out for a walk so as to allow the leg plus muscles of the back to stretch a little. Here is another fun option- Get into the habit of going for a swim on a regular basis for it is a natural way of treating sciatica, making the muscles toned and flexible.
If the pain or tingling sensation experienced in the condition of Sciatica is related to a herniated disc that sets off the pain on irritation or nerve compression, you must consult a doctor for the effectiveness of physical therapy in your case.
The key to prevent recurrence of sciatic never pain in your leg is to stretch as well as strengthen the muscles of the abdominal and back region also known as the core muscles.This helps work on the weakness experienced in your affected leg. Pilates and yoga are great options that can help reduce both, the frequency and the severity of sciatic nerve pain in your leg. Pigeon and the cobra pose can provide proper stretch to the sciatic area.
Watch Your Posture
Correct posture must be maintained at all times such as while sitting, driving and even whilst standing. It is important to re-train your muscles and to do so; you can make good use of a stability ball to play the role of a chair for sitting.
All the pain and numbness related symptoms caused by the largest nerve, sciatic can be treated by following a healthy diet routine. This can be achieved by consuming a glassful of homemade juice prepared from fresh carrots, potatoes and celery once or twice in a day. Stop the habit of having plain milk. To treat sciatica in the leg region, boil milk measuring up to one-fourth of a cup along with one or two crushed and raw cloves of garlic. Once the garlic milk cools down, drink a small cup of it everyday.
A good quality, undisturbed sleep is equally important in sciatic nerve pain control.
Another way to soothe the unbearable pain is by applying a freshly made poultice consisting of minced horseradish over the leg which can be left covered by a towel for sixty minutes.
If you are not very keen on having medications due to the undesirable side effects or medical contraindications, you can always stay on the road to recovery with acupuncture for it is believed to be free of any noxious effects. Schedule an appointment with an acupuncturist to understand the root cause of your pain as well as undergo treatment in which very fine needles are applied on specific points.
In cases where the severity of pain persists or escalates despite use of non surgical means after a duration of six to twelve weeks, the last line of treatment is the surgical one. Either of the two procedures may be considered to control the growing disability, namely Microdiscectomy and Open decompression also known as Lumbar laminectomy.